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Z81X – South Sudan

left is one of the shacks
left is one of the shacks

On 15 November IARU Region 1 organised a Radio Spectrum/Regulatory Workshop with the aim to assist the South Sudanese administration with the implementation of amateur radio.

The workshop was part of a goodwill project in cooperation with Radio Arcala, DX University, the YASME Foundation, ARRL, Rock City Investments Co, Yaesu Musen Co. Ltd of Japan and the European DX Foundation. The workshop took place on the compound of the European Union in Juba the capital of South Sudan. Most of the 21 participants work for the South Sudanese Radio Communications Agency, others came from the Ministry of Interior.

South Sudan became an independent country in 2011. Currently amateur Radio is allowed on a provisional basis. There are two resident foreign amateurs who received full amateur privileges. Since 2011 only one DX-pedition was active from South Sudan. The license fee of USD 100 is something that a foreign amateur can afford. However for a national of a country with a GDP per capitata of around USD 1000 it is an excessive amount.
Import of amateur radio equipment is complicated but possible with the permission of the Ministry of Telecommunications & Postal Services.

The objectives of this workshop were

  • to train regulators on the administration on the amateur service and amateur-satellite service;
  • to assist the administration on creation of amateur-radio regulations and the related national frequency allocation table;
  • to discuss the amateur radio’s benefits for the society;
  • to evaluate the prospects of establishing the amateur radio service for South Sudanese nationals;
  • Our program included the following subjects:

Organisation of ITU;

  • ITU Radio Regulations articles 1.56, 1.57, 5, 19 and 25;
  • organisation of IARU;
  • introduction to Amateur Radio Activities;
  • how society can benefit from Amateur Radio, with relevant education and emergency communications;
  • National Frequency Allocation Table – introduction of amateur spectrum;
  • National Amateur Legislation.

Are we done?

The introduction of amateur radio in a new country can not be completed in a one day workshop. The country has so many more important things to take care of that introduction of amateur radio to South Sudanese nationals will only be successful with the consistent help of the international amateur community. The next step (to be taken this week) is to explore cooperation with the University of Juba in order to set up a training program for the first generation of South Sudanese radio amateurs.

one of Z81D's antenna masts
one of Z81D’s antenna masts

Did we operate?
On Saturday I had the privilege to spend about four hours behind a radio in Z81D’s shack in Rock City, close to Juba. While the rest of our team was busy setting up low band verticals and beverages I made some 650 QSO’s on 12 and 10 meters in SSB. The rest of the team will stay in South Sudan until the end of November focussing on low bands. By the time I got home on Monday morning the team had already 5000 QSO’s in the log with 2000 on 160 and 80 meters.

Hans PB2T